What’s Your Brand’s Emotional iQ?

June 05, 2019
By iQ Staff
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Abstract illustration of a person choosing faces with different emotions from a shelf.

Emotional intelligence has become a business buzzword since Daniel Goleman popularized the phrase in his 1995 best-selling book. Also known as EI, EQ or EIQ, emotional intelligence is the ability to manage one’s emotions, recognize the emotions of others, and use that understanding to guide thinking and behavior.

According to Goleman, emotionally intelligent individuals have five defining characteristics:

  • Self-awareness

    High-EQ individuals can recognize the emotions they’re feeling, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Self-regulation

    They control their emotions and don’t let their impulses get the better of them.

  • Motivation

    They are driven to do well and are willing to delay instant gratification for long-term success.

  • Empathy

    They identify with the wants and needs of others and are able to relate with people from all walks of life.

  • Social skills

    They recognize what others are feeling and respond accordingly. They listen, communicate well and help others feel included.

Brands, too, can increase their emotional IQ to create better experiences for their customers. Here’s how brands use emotional intelligence to improve their marketing efforts.


They recognize brand strengths and weaknesses

High-EQ brands embrace a culture of open communication and feedback. They keep an ear to the ground, listening to what employees and customers are saying, and see negative feedback as an opportunity to do better. They are willing to own up to their weaknesses and address them by improving upon their products and services.

High-EQ brands also recognize their strengths. They know what they do best and what makes them unique. By being self-aware, high-EQ brands can position themselves more strategically and tailor their messages accordingly.


They don’t make impulsive marketing decisions

Emotionally driven decisions don’t always have long-term staying power. High-EQ brands don’t let impulse drive their marketing decisions, even when faced with exciting new ideas or pressured by competitors doubling down on their marketing efforts. They stand by their brand story and values even when they run counter to marketing trends. They take their time to evaluate the market and what their customers want, and craft a genuine solution, not a reactive one.


High-EQ brands walk a mile in their customers’ shoes to understand the lives they lead.


They really, truly understand their customers

High-EQ brands look beyond demographics. They walk a mile in their customers’ shoes to understand the lives they lead. They create rich audience profiles to help them define and reach their target markets. They know what makes their customers click “buy” or the back button on their browser. They understand their fans’ pain points, like poor UX or bad customer service, as well as what motivates them. They use every tool at their disposal, from focus groups to surveys to feedback forms to social media, to talk to their customers constantly and to listen to what they’re saying.


They engage in authentic brand storytelling

Ultimately, by knowing their customers and listening to them regularly, high-EQ brands become better storytellers. They tap into emotions that make their target audience feel inspired, empowered, compelled to take action. They use that emotional awareness to create authentic stories that resonate. Just as people are naturally drawn toward charismatic individuals, high-EQ brands build a strong brand persona that customers want to connect with.


This is part 1 of iQ 360’s blog series on different types of IQ. Check out part 2, which explores how improving your social IQ can help you provide better client service.


Brand Emotional IQ Test

Is your brand emotionally intelligent? Take iQ 360’s short emotional IQ test to find out. (Remember, we’re communicators, not psychologists, so the quiz below is for entertainment purposes only.)


Your biggest competitor comes out with a sleek new marketing campaign that is gaining heavy traction on social media. How does your company respond?

  1. Run a customer survey and create a yearlong plan based on the topics and media your customers have requested.
  2. Quickly release a video of your own, even though your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to keep producing content.
  3. Stay the course with your current marketing efforts, even though customer engagement is low.


A popular blog writes about one of your products and sales go through the roof. Orders are delayed and customers take to social media to vent their frustration. How does your company react?

  1. Respond to each customer comment apologizing for the inconvenience and providing an estimated timeframe for delivery.
  2. Post a blanket statement on social media saying orders will be filled as soon as possible.
  3. Ignore comments and DMs. You don’t know when orders will be filled so you have nothing to add.


Your brand’s marketing efforts are:

  1. Values-driven. Every marketing decision is based on whether it reflects your core values.
  2. You’re always after the Next Big Thing — jumping from trend to trend in the hopes of going viral.
  3. You have a plan and you’re sticking to it, whether or not it resonates with customers.


If your brand could spend more money on one thing, it’d be:

  1. Market research. You want to understand your customers better and make sure everything, from your products and services to your marketing, aligns with what they want.
  2. Content creation. Your team has a lot of cool ideas they want to bring to life.
  3. Product development. If you don’t have the best products, nothing else matters.


What do you hope to gain from a customer feedback form?

  1. A deeper understanding of what customers experienced before, during and after their purchase, and how they felt at each point in the buyer journey.
  2. Attention to major issues so your team can correct them.
  3. Validation about your product and what features the customer enjoyed.




MOSTLY A: High brand EQ

Your brand has a high emotional IQ! You recognize how important it is to understand your customers and apply that knowledge to everything you do, from improving products and services to telling your brand story. You strive to be authentic and true to your values and create connections that enrich your customers’ experience.


MOSTLY B: Average brand EQ

Your brand has an average emotional IQ. You care about what your customers think, but don’t put in extra effort to understand their experiences and motivations. You tend to make decisions reactively, when faced with pressure from competitors or excitement over a new idea. Be more aware of your brand’s strengths and what you stand for — this will help improve the way you connect with customers.


MOSTLY C: Low brand EQ

Your brand has a low emotional IQ. Your focus is on your products, not the people who use them. You know who your customers are, but their experience is low on your priority list as long as they are still buying what you’re selling. Your marketing strategy tends to be rigid and slow to adapt, mostly because you don’t know how well it serves your audience. Be more open to identifying with your customers, listening to their feedback, and using it as an opportunity to improve.